• Carlos Carrasco‘s move to the bullpen brought some intrigue to see what he could do handling one or two inning workloads. Tonight he was extended a bit throwing four innings and allowing three runs, but he still struck out five batters while issuing just one walk. Carrasco has an above average strikeout rate and an even more impressive swinging strike % (11.6%) indicating he has actual bat missing ability. He won’t make much noise this year and Cody Allen has a tight grasp on the closing gig in Cleveland, but Carrasco is someone to eye next year as he may be called on to pitch higher leverage innings. As a reliever, Carrasco’s allowed only 11 runs in 43 innings this season. Surprisingly his K-rate has declined in the relief role but I’d toss that up to small sampling as he has legitimate swing and miss stuff. It’s likely that Carraso has found a new permanent home in the bullpen and he can certainly help your ratios, strikeouts and even get a hold or two.
• There wasn’t a save situation tonight with a four run lead in the ninth inning but A.J. Ramos got the final two outs of the seventh with Bryan Morris pitching a perfect eighth. That seems to be the standard operating procedure for the Marlins at the end of games these days, with Morris and Ramos handing it off to Cishek. Over the last couple of seasons, Steve Cishek‘s name has either been involved in trade rumors or as a closer who could lose his job. Sadly, to speculative fantasy baseball owners, neither of those has come to fruition. The Marlins were buyers at the deadline and nothing should really change next year so expect a lot of Ramos – Morris – Cishek moving forward in Miami.
• Jonathan Papelbon struck out the side in a tie game in the ninth inning tonight, albeit while also issuing two walks. Papelbon doesn’t serve a large purpose on a team in the Phillies situation, so he’s clearly on the table in trades up until the waiver deadline on August 31st. Such a trade might not be likely but each performance will be crucial for his trade value.
• There was a minor transaction today as the Nationals picked up lefty Matt Thornton from the Yankees after placing a claim on him. Thornton’s 2.55 ERA is nice but his 0.0% HR/FB suggests some good fortune and his 3.90 xFIP isn’t too appealing. Back in the day Thornton threw gas from the left side, always striking out more than a batter an inning. In recent years, Thornton is still throwing gas from the left side but without the same swing and miss results. In fact, over the last three years his SwStr% have all been below average. Thornton likely won’t cost the Nationals anything to upgrade their lefty options in the pen, but he won’t move the needle much for the Nats or your fantasy team. As far as the Yankees are concerned, look for David Huff to see more higher leverage action against lefties. Huff has allowed only 5 ER in 23 innings for the Yankees this year and while he isn’t too fantasy relevant (AKA not at all) he is the primary left handed reliever for the Yankees moving forward.
• Quick Hits: No save situation but the Orioles went with Tommy Hunter and Andrew Miller in the seventh and eighth innings tonight, a trend that should continue in Baltimore. Francisco Rodriguez closed his 33rd door of the year. K-Rod’s had a fine year but he was actually quite terrible in July, posting a 6.48 ERA and .381 wOBA against. He’s earned enough leash where he will save games all year but I wouldn’t look to at his seasonal ERA and expect an ERA around or under 3.00 from here on out.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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